System Adaptation and Aging


Broader ecosystems may become more vulnerable to catastrophic events.  By comparison, the older someone gets the more vulnerable their personal ecosystems become to sickness and physical injury.  Eventually, both humans and the broader ecosystems in which they live become more susceptible to unanticipated change compared to the exploitation phase where resiliency is higher.

Broad ecosystems that experience a catastrophic event may undergo transformation.  Energy from the ecosystem is released and no longer contained in previous forms.  This adaptation may result in the start of a new cycle of development.  A serious enough shock to a personal ecosystem could result in permanent injury or even death.  At a physical level, there is still an adaptive or transformational release of energy and reusable nutrients. Intellectual and emotional artifacts are preserved through other means (books, computer archives, or even through the memories of surviving relationships). The recognition of a new cycle by the people involved will often lead to more directed teaching or sharing of philosophies, concepts and ideas with others.  Through knowledge sharing a martial artist’s influence on the evolution of a particular practice is preserved.  Preserved ideas and concepts change the cycle and influence the trajectory of a related Martial Arts evolution. While leaders of a martial art may attempt to preserve a style for future generations, styles almost inevitably adapt with time and various interpretations of future practitioners.  Typically, foundational concepts, such as physical conflict avoidance are preserved.

Image 17 shows Masters Mark Sentoshi Russo and Helen Jotoshi Russo. Their style of To Shin Do represents how a martial art grows through the adaptive cycle.

When a new technique emerges in Martial Arts systems the exploitation phase will begin again.  This phase will continue through the formation and application of emerging techniques by new martial artists.  Counter techniques inevitably emerge in response.  Occasionally, an entirely new martial art is introduced.  This can act like a new organism added to the ecosystem.  Other Martial Arts must respond to the new martial art added into the community.  New techniques will be adapted to combat this new martial art, and each style will respond differently.  This is similar to plants responding to a new species added into an ecosystem.  Examples of this through history are WWII veterans bringing back specific Martial Arts to their countries, the introduction of kick boxing, or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as a modern day example.  When MMA emerged, it uniquely combined different striking and grappling techniques into a new systematic style.  While some martial art schools attempted to ignore the new style and hold firmly to their established path,  most martial art schools choose to adapt and develop new techniques and strategies to compete against MMA.

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